The Root Of Mindfulness

The Root Of MindfulnessIt may seem perfectly acceptable to put ourselves and our own wishes first, to simply follow the dictates of our emotions and cravings, but the truth is that there is very little that is more unreliable than our own mind.

Life doesn’t always run like clockwork and things will not necessarily turn out as we hope or plan. Consequently, Nichiren frequently stressed: “You should become the master of your mind, not let your mind master you.”

We must not allow ourselves to be ruled by a self-centred mind. Rather, we have to discipline our mind and gain mastery over it. So often these days we are confronted by the ‘mind over matter’ attitude … ‘I don’t mind and you don’t matter’.

Always try to see a situation from the others perspective. You may find that the view from their side of the table is rather different than your own, and it may well illuminate facets that you had overlooked.

Crash, Bang, Wallop …

Thunder and LightningThe thunder, lightening and rain was biblical on Friday morning, not the kind that wakes the odd person, the kind that wakes everyone, amazing. So having been roused from our slumbers, we stood at the window watching natures incredible light show and marvelling at the rain falling vertically in huge droplets.

If we are unprepared for it, the weather can cause us all manner of problems, as witnessed by the floods in and around Somerset earlier in the year. But problems, or challenges as we prefer to refer to them, can be seen in many ways …

There was once an old lady who cried all the time. Her elder daughter was married to an umbrella merchant while the younger daughter was the wife of a noodle vendor. On sunny days, she worried, “Oh no! The weather is so nice and sunny. No one is going to buy any umbrellas. What will happen if the shop has to be closed?” These worries made her sad. She just could not help but cry.

When it rained, she would cry for the younger daughter. She thought, “Oh no! My younger daughter is married to a noodle vendor. You cannot dry noodles without the sun. Now there will be no noodles to sell. What should we do?” As a result, the old lady lived in sorrow everyday. Whether sunny or rainy, she grieved for one of her daughters. Her neighbours could not console her and jokingly called her “the crying lady.”

One day, she met a monk. He was very curious as to why she was always crying. She explained the problem to him. The monk smiled kindly and said, “Madam! You need not worry. I will show you a way to happiness, and you will need to grieve no more.”

The crying lady was very excited. She immediately asked the monk to show her what to do. The master replied, “It is very simple. You just need to change your perspective. On sunny days, do not think of your elder daughter not being able to sell umbrellas but the younger daughter being able to dry her noodles. With such good strong sunlight, she must be able to make plenty of noodles and her business must be very good. When it rains, think about the umbrella store of the elder daughter. With the rain, everyone must be buying umbrellas. She will sell a lot of umbrellas and her store will prosper.”

The old lady saw the light. She followed the monk’s instruction. After a while, she did not cry anymore; instead, she was smiling everyday. From that day on she was known as “the smiling lady.”

It’s Raining Again

UmbrellasThere was once an old lady who cried all the time. Her elder daughter was married to an umbrella merchant while the younger daughter was the wife of a noodle vendor. On sunny days, she worried, “Oh no! The weather is so nice and sunny. No one is going to buy any umbrellas. What will happen if the shop has to be closed?” These worries made her sad. She just could not help but cry.

When it rained, she would cry for the younger daughter. She thought, “Oh no! My younger daughter is married to a noodle vendor. You cannot dry noodles without the sun. Now there will be no noodles to sell. What should we do?” As a result, the old lady lived in sorrow everyday. Whether sunny or rainy, she grieved for one of her daughters. Her neighbours could not console her and jokingly called her “the crying lady.”

One day, she met a monk. He was very curious as to why she was always crying. She explained the problem to him. The monk smiled kindly and said, “Madam! You need not worry. I will show you a way to happiness, and you will need to grieve no more.”

The crying lady was very excited. She immediately asked the monk to show her what to do. The master replied, “It is very simple. You just need to change your perspective. On sunny days, do not think of your elder daughter not being able to sell umbrellas but the younger daughter being able to dry her noodles. With such good strong sunlight, she must be able to make plenty of noodles and her business must be very good. When it rains, think about the umbrella store of the elder daughter. With the rain, everyone must be buying umbrellas. She will sell a lot of umbrellas and her store will prosper.”

The old lady saw the light. She followed the monk’s instruction. After a while, she did not cry anymore; instead, she was smiling everyday. From that day on she was known as “the smiling lady.”

Mind Control

Mind ControlIt may seem perfectly acceptable to put ourselves and our own wishes first, to simply follow the dictates of our emotions and cravings, but the truth is that there is very little that is more unreliable than our own mind.

Life doesn’t always run like clockwork and things will not necessarily turn out as we hope or plan. Consequently, Nichiren frequently stressed: “You should become the master of your mind, not let your mind master you.”

We must not allow ourselves to be ruled by a self-centred mind. Rather, we have to discipline our mind and gain mastery over it. So often these days we are confronted by the ‘mind over matter’ attitude, ‘I don’t mind and you don’t matter’.

Always try to see a situation from the others perspective. You may find that the view from their side of the table is rather different than your own, and it may well illuminate facets that you had overlooked.

Virtual Sunshine And Showers

Sunshine And ShowersIt is Friday, meaning that we have made it through another working week, with the emphasis strongly on the working bit. With the sword of Damocles still hanging over my head, it is a bit of a challenge to remain focussed, even though people keep telling me ‘You’ll be fine’. Sadly it’s not their decision, and the wait continues.

So it was a really nice surprise, when we had a visitor to the Ringwood office, a new guy who has been brought in to head up our ecommerce business unit, and it turned out that he’s only got one head, has worked for the likes of Amazon and Love Film, is very passionate about building the business and listens when people talk to him.

I really can see a positive light falling on the IT team. It felt like everyone has embraced the new energy and are buzzing with the enthusiasm our new leader has instilled. It remains to be seen where the line between the companies legacy ends, being established in 1856, and the adoption of new technologies begins. Philatelists are a funny bunch, in the nicest possible way, and it’s a fine line to be trodden.

The excitement is palpable and the way forward, for the team at least, is becoming clearer. The minor fly in the ointment, from my side of things, is that by this time next week, I may not be part of the team.

This is where my Buddhism kicks in, and in more ways than I had expected. My initial feeling is one of joy and excitement for the team. With second thoughts I see that their future may not be mine, but with that split comes a series of possibilities. I could see it as a potential crisis, but I am weighing up the balance between the danger and the opportunities and I see that the opportunities are winning hands down.

The way forward is to keep chanting, stay positive and wait to see what happens.

Nam Myoho Renge Kyo

It’s All About Perspectives

UmbrellasThere was once an old lady who cried all the time. Her elder daughter was married to an umbrella merchant while the younger daughter was the wife of a noodle vendor. On sunny days, she worried, “Oh no! The weather is so nice and sunny. No one is going to buy any umbrellas. What will happen if the shop has to be closed?” These worries made her sad. She just could not help but cry.

When it rained, she would cry for the younger daughter. She thought, “Oh no! My younger daughter is married to a noodle vendor. You cannot dry noodles without the sun. Now there will be no noodles to sell. What should we do?” As a result, the old lady lived in sorrow everyday. Whether sunny or rainy, she grieved for one of her daughters. Her neighbours could not console her and jokingly called her “the crying lady.”

One day, she met a monk. He was very curious as to why she was always crying. She explained the problem to him. The monk smiled kindly and said, “Madam! You need not worry. I will show you a way to happiness, and you will need to grieve no more.”

The crying lady was very excited. She immediately asked the monk to show her what to do. The master replied, “It is very simple. You just need to change your perspective. On sunny days, do not think of your elder daughter not being able to sell umbrellas but the younger daughter being able to dry her noodles. With such good strong sunlight, she must be able to make plenty of noodles and her business must be very good. When it rains, think about the umbrella store of the elder daughter. With the rain, everyone must be buying umbrellas. She will sell a lot of umbrellas and her store will prosper.”

The old lady saw the light. She followed the monk’s instruction. After a while, she did not cry anymore; instead, she was smiling everyday. From that day on she was known as “the smiling lady.”

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